Massive network breaches have become so routine, it would be hard to find an American adult whose personal information hasn’t been compromised. From Yahoo to Equifax to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, hackers have gained illicit access to the Social Security numbers, passwords and other sensitive data of at least half of the country’s population.
Sadly, private health care data is another tempting target for hackers. In 2016, IBM named health care as one of the three top industries targeted by cybercriminals.
That’s where PacketSled, a San Diego-based startup, is making a difference. Since its founding in 2013, the company has been helping businesses, government agencies and other organizations protect their data. Using a customized, cloud-based system, PacketSled monitors its clients’ network activity in real time, allowing clients to detect, identify and mitigate threats while identifying potential data loss.
Now, Ventures’ team of experienced engineers working alongside Rose-Hulman’s brightest student interns is helping PacketSled expand its cybersecurity shield to include Health Level Seven (HL7) data flows. HL7 is the international protocol for sharing patient information, giving hospitals and doctors around the world a common language.
“HL7 is used for the vast majority of patient medical records,” explains Aaron Eppert, a 2001 Rose-Hulman graduate and director of engineering at PacketSled. “HL7 protocol awareness is key for health care providers to understand their exposure to HIPAA [medical information privacy laws] when it comes to data loss. For cybersecurity, healthcare is a definite ‘elephant in the room.’”
Eppert, based on his experience working with Rose-Hulman graduates throughout his career, trusts Ventures to make this current project a success. He also knows the challenge of cybersecurity is growing as quickly as the “internet of things” reaches beyond computers into household appliances, automobiles, industrial controls and much more.
“It’s an ever-evolving environment,” he says. “I know working with Ventures, we’re going to get great results.”